Day commemorated

2018-11-28 06:01
Rachel Thoka, the child slave who was nine-years old when slavery was abolished.

Rachel Thoka, the child slave who was nine-years old when slavery was abolished.

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The National Museum in Bloemfontein will comme­morate Emancipation Day on Saturday (01/12).

This commemoration marks the abolishment of slavery on 1 December 1834, and this practice came to an end in the Cape Colony.

The move to abolish slavery in the Cape Colony came a year after the Slavery Abolition Bill of 1833 was passed by the British House of Commons and by the House of Lords.

Although the Bill was passed in August 1833 it only came into effect on 1 August 1834.

Slavery was officially abolished in the British Empire, which included the Cape Colony.

To commemorate the abolition of slavery at the Cape and the slaves’ concomitant emancipation, 1 December is world-wide celebrated as Emancipation Day.

Except for Cape Town in South Africa, this historical day does not receive the attention it deserves. It is important that all South Africans be mindful of this historical day as the consequences of slavery are not limited to the Cape alone.

Emancipated slaves and their descendants also migrated to the former Trans Gariep (the Orange Free State) and Bloemfontein.

One of Bloemfontein’s most notable black residents, who had been a child slave in the Cape Colony, is Rachel Thoka. She was nine years old when slavery was abolished.

A temporary poster exhibition which contains interesting photos and information on slavery is currently on display at the National Museum and its satellite museums, namely Oliewenhuis Art Museum, Freshford House Museum and the First Raadsaal.

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